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Second Lawsuit Filed Over Maryland’s New Congressional Districting Map

from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

December 23, 2021, 6:26 PM

Fair Maps Maryland, an anti-gerrymandering group with ties to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), announced a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Maryland’s new congressional map violates the state constitution.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Republican voters from all eight of the state’s congressional districts, including two state delegates: Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford) and Del. Christopher T. Adams (R-Lower Shore). The lawsuit charges that Maryland’s new congressional map — passed by Democratic lawmakers during a special session earlier this month — violates the Article I, Section 7 of the Maryland Constitution. That section requires the General Assembly to “pass Laws necessary for the preservation of the purity of Elections.”

“Through intentional partisan manipulation, it cracks Republican voters across Maryland, including Plaintiffs, in a way which ensures that Republicans do not have a vote share majority in any congressional district,” the lawsuit reads. “Thus, the 2021 Plan intentionally dilutes the voting power of Plaintiffs and renders their votes nearly meaningless in congressional elections.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the new congressional plan violates other provisions in the Maryland Declaration of Rights, including its requirement that elections be “free and frequent; and every citizen having the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution, ought to have the right of suffrage.”

Plaintiffs also take issue with the 1st Congressional District’s new boundaries, which cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to include a portion of central Anne Arundel County with the Eastern Shore. That change is set to move the solidly Republican 1st District into tossup territory, although several past iterations of the 1st District also crossed the Chesapeake Bay.

“The Maryland General Assembly created these illegal maps in dark backrooms and now they will be forced to defend them in a court of law,” Doug Mayer, a former Hogan communications strategist and Fair Maps Maryland spokesman, said in a statement. “These Marylanders are victims of electoral corruption and blatant voter suppression, and this lawsuit is their only remedy to undo the damage the General Assembly has perpetuated against them for decades.”

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